Pretoria – The family of slain Hillary Gardee, and the EFF have called on the courts to deny bail for the three men arrested in connection with the murder of the daughter of former EFF secretary general Godrich Gardee.
The trio is scheduled to make a first appearance before the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court, in Mpumalanga, this morning.
Speaking to journalists outside the court, EFF national spokesperson Sinawo Tambo, who also doubled as the family spokesperson, said the accused must be denied bail.
“The primary message that we want to communicate is that they must be denied bail because they have exhibited themselves to be a flight risk. They were all caught either fleeing or in hiding and we need the judiciary to be instructive and set an example that it is firm on matters of gender-based violence,” said Thambo.
“Our people have lost confidence in law enforcement agencies when it comes to matters of this nature. A denial of bail will instil confidence to the people who are abused in their homes – the mothers, daughters, grandmothers, stepdaughters, all people suffering abuse need to be taken into confidence …”
He said a bail application by the three accused men would present an opportunity for the judiciary to restore faith in the rule of law.
“We are calling for a denial of bail for these suspects so that we give confidence to our people and also we ensure they do not flee from the matter at hand. We are told there are more suspects being investigated, people of interest being directly linked to the crime positively,” he said.
“We do not want to enter the realm of engaging the social media reports about the names of the suspects and their political affiliations, we are waiting for the court appearance and we will give a further update as to whether the family actually has any links with these individuals.”
On Sunday, police in Mpumalanga said two more suspects had been nabbed in connection with the Hillary Gardee murder case.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Colonel Donald Mdhluli confirmed that two more suspects had been arrested, joining the first suspect.
The two additional suspects were arrested in Nelspruit between Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday.
The first suspect, a 39-year-old man, was arrested on Friday in Schoemansdal (Nkomazi).
Mpumalanga commissioner of police Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela said: “This is encouraging and as we indicated that there were other people of interest that we were following and interviewing. Through our investigation, which is still proceeding, we were able to come out with information that we fully believe the two are the right suspects.”
Police Minister Bheki Cele, who attended 28-year-old Hillary’s funeral on Saturday, had alluded to fact that the people of interest in the murder case had political affiliations, and some were prominent business people in the local community of Mbombela.
Hillary was found dead in bushes 45km outside Mbombela on Tuesday by passers-by who were on their way to work.
Hillary Indira Gardee was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1994.
At the time of her death, she was a student at Unisa, studying IT part-time while running her own IT business.